Pattern director Stacey Hyland outlines the key questions your business needs to ask to analyse the digital team and its capabilities. 

As eCommerce sales contribution continues to grow, digital channels are under the spotlight.

Increased reliance on the channel brings with it an opportunity to secure additional support and investment. 

Many retailers and brands are now asking their digital teams blue sky questions about how big the eCommerce channel can be, how quickly it can grow, and what the optimal investments are.

This is music to the ears of most digital leaders who can now look beyond incremental short term investments, to longer term strategic investments that are going to deliver significant growth leaps. 

Two of the most important questions to answer are: 'how should I structure my omnichannel operations?' and 'do I have the right mix of capabilities to deliver sustained ecommerce growth?'

What Is The Right Omnichannel Structure?

In the past, omnichannel structure and capabilities have often grown and evolved organically, without the appropriate level of strategy and planning.

In terms of structuring omnichannel operations, unfortunately there is no silver bullet. 

The structure that is right for your business will depend on many factors including how digitally mature the organisation is, how quickly online needs to scale, what internal capabilities and resources already exist, and how important it is to deliver a seamless customer experience across all marketing and sales channels.

What Is The Right Mix Of Capabilities?

Assumptions are sometimes made that digital people understand all elements of digital equally well and that one person’s capabilities can be relied upon to deliver a successful digital function. 

This is similar to assuming that your plumber can fix your washing machine.

You need a range of people and skillsets to keep your house operational, and so too do you need a range of skills to build, grow and maintain a successful online business.

Some of the core capabilities needed include strategic planning, digital marketing, commercial trading, CRO, CRM, email, planning, supply chain, logistics, analytics, insights, technology, customer service and design. 

To determine whether the capabilities you have now match what you are going to need in the future, there are six key questions to answer:

  1.      What do you expect your digital channels to deliver in the future?
  2.      What does best practice look like for your channel or category?
  3.      How are you doing compared to best practice?
  4.      Where are the gaps and opportunities?

Once there is a view on the above, you will be in a good position to dig deeper into an assessment of capabilities by asking:

  1.      What capabilities do I need to address the gaps and opportunities?
  2.      Do these capabilities exist in the business now?
  3.      If they don’t exist, can I address them through one-off projects, structural or process changes, training, recruitment or partnerships with third parties?

The answer to these questions will vary greatly between organisations but the ultimate outcome should be a phased plan with assigned responsibilities to build the capabilities needed to achieve the short and long term objectives of the business.

If you would like to discuss how to approach a capability assessment for your organisation, please get in touch. 

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